HULL FC head coach Lee Radford insisted he was “proud” of his side despite seeing them let an 18-4 lead slip at the death against title-chasing Castleford Tigers.
The Airlie Birds seemed set for their first win in six games after producing a convincing display against their established visitors on Thursday night.
It had been a vast improvement on their 56-10 hammering by Wigan Warriors six days earlier, a loss that under-pressure Radford had described as “embarrassing.”
However, Castleford battled back with three tries in the final 13 minutes and could have actually won if Marc Sneyd – the half-back destined for the KC Stadium in 2015 – had not narrowly missed the 77th-minute conversion attempt of James Clare’s second try.
“When you’ve been leading for such a long period, to ‘lose’ at the end is really disappointing,” said Radford.
“But on a positive note, I thought we were physically really dominant, which is really pleasing. Last week I was embarrassed but this week I’m proud.
“We are going to look at some crucial points that burned us towards the end, but we had effort and intent and if you bring that every week you are going to win more than you lose.”
Hull lost much of their momentum when stand-off Jordan Rankin went off with a knee injury early in the second half.
Scrum-half Jordan Abdull was also carried off on a stretcher five minutes from the end after a collision with Weller Hauraki that was put on report.
“It’s not good for a 17-year-old to be going for an X-ray on his neck,” said Radford, who was left with mixed feelings about on-loan Sneyd’s display.
The player, who joins from Salford in a £100,000 deal at the end of this season, started the fightback with a try and then created both of Clare’s scores with the sort of clever kicks that Hull could well utilise. “He had a quiet 40 minutes but he really came to the party,” said Radford.